Latest South Korean Embarrassment: Guy in Flippers

Possible North Korean defector reportedly swam across border, crawled through beach drain pipe
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2021 7:57 AM CST
North Korean Wearing Wetsuit, Flippers Turns Up in South
In this June 15, 2020, file photo, South Korean army soldiers patrol along the barbed-wire fence in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

Soldiers came upon a North Korean man wearing a wetsuit and flippers walking down a road in South Korea on Tuesday. It was "the second embarrassing breach for the South Korean military's border security in recent months" after a North Korean defector traversed the Demilitarized Zone, reaching a half-mile south of the border, in November, the New York Times reports. In this case, the man in his 20s reportedly swam across the maritime border between North and South Korea and crawled through a drain beneath a beachside barbed-wire fence meant to block infiltrators, military officials said Wednesday, per the Times. South Korean soldiers ultimately found the man—who officials say may be a defector—walking south of the DMZ in a zone where travel requires a military permit.

"Our military did not take appropriate actions, although the man had been detected in its surveillance system several times since coming ashore," the military said. He was spotted around 4:20am Tuesday but wasn't captured for another three hours, the Times reports. He was still wearing his wetsuit and flippers when captured near the coastal town of Goseong, per the BBC. South Korea's Joint Chief of Staffs is looking into the security breach and the suspected defector. "We're conducting an investigation into details, including how he had come down and whether he wished to defect," it said. About 200 North Koreans defected to the South last year, an all-time low attributed to North Korea's coronavirus lockdowns, reports Al Jazeera. Most reached the South through China and other countries. (More South Korea stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.